Subtly, Christianity has entered the realm of anime conventions over the last several years. Lauren Orsini post about the time a Christian convention was held in the same venue as Katsucon. Charles Dunbar writes about the time a con Jesus walked into an Easter service (to a surprising response). Fans of Vic Mignogna and Caitlin Glass know that the two often hold worship services at cons they attend. And there are those of us who are doing panels about the intersection of Christianity and anime.
But while those examples might bring a genuine interest and a positive tone toward the faith, this weekend’s meeting of anime convention + Christian religion surely won’t. FanimeCon, taking place this weekend in San Jose, draws tens of thousands of otaku, geeks, cosplayers, and other fans in one of the largest anime conventions in the country. Although it’s mostly fun and games, Fanime also draws religious protestors who are, as far as I can tell (I’ve never attended) are part of a group called Cry to God. The response toward them has been notable and this year is sure to bring more of the same as I’m sure many attendees continue to prepare a response in anticipation of the protests.
Christian con-goers are certainly put in a predicament because of the protestors – how does this reflect on their faith? What position should they take? And how should they respond? While some have made responses behind the scenes, others plan to be more visible.
I received an email from Gwen, an anime fan who in response to the protests, has planned a prayer meeting. Here’s some more information about the event:
Anyone else bothered by the man who pickets FanimeCon every year saying “turn to Jesus or burn in hell”?
It’s like he’s saying: either you’re a Christian or you’re a pagan anime fan. It polarizes people and creates an us versus them mentality.
I don’t believe that’s true.
God loves all of us, particularly the outcasts (as geeks traditionally were), and God especially loves everyone at FanimeCon.
Unfortunately, with all the picketing, I think a lot of people don’t see that side of God at FanimeCon. Let’s get together do something about it!
I encourage all of you who are attending Fanime this weekend to check out the prayer meeting and see what Gwen and her group are up to. If you’re Christian, I definitely encourage you to participate and show a maligned group (of which you may be a part) that Christians can and should reach out in love.
You can find more about the prayer meeting through the group’s Meetup page.